On 11 December 2009, TPR published a consultation document on its review of how it assesses the conditions for joining and remaining on its register of independent trustees. The assessment criteria are more stringent and include an independent review of the administrative and accounting procedures of independent trustees wishing to join TPR’s register. The consultation period runs until 12 March 2010 and new applications to join the register will not be considered until the new assessment criteria have been decided. In order to stay on the register, trustees who are already registered will be invited to reapply in accordance with the new criteria.

The proposed key changes are as follows:

  • definitions and interpretations - in the case of corporate trustees, TPR sets out its proposed view as to which individuals within these organisations fall within the categories of “Officers” and “Key Persons” who must meet the required standards for registration. Key Persons will also include all those at the time of the application who have overall responsibility or accountability for pension trustee work, even if this is a temporary role;
  • sufficient relevant experience - TPR proposes that a corporate trustee must show that “in its own capacity” it has had at least three years of regular or continuous experience as a trustee of an occupational pension scheme before making an application to be included on TPR’s register. Previously, only the experience of the Key person would have been assessed for such entities;
  • sound administrative and accounting procedures - TPR proposes to adopt the Audit and Assurance faculty framework developed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to assess this criterion. The applicant will be required to obtain independent certification that certain control standards have been met, instead of the current self-certification which applies; and
  • adequate indemnity insurance - trustees will need cover from an independent third party insurer of at least £2 million for a single claim and the associated requirements are generally being made more onerous.

TPR states that it believes these proposals are “justified having regard to the overall safeguards provided to members of schemes where TPR appoints a trustee from the trustee register.”

View the consultation document.